Friday, 20 February 2015

Joseph... his story and his name.

Ive been itching to write this precious journal post.
It feels a bit sacred, and so Ive not rushed to do it.. but kept it hidden in my heart in its entirety. Till now.

A year ago pretty much to the day that Joseph was born, I sat in the kitchen in the quiet, praying through some struggles. I had my Bible in one hand, my heart open, and tears on my cheeks.. and all my insecurities laid bare before Him.

As I prayed them through, God spoke to me "I have given you a soft heart because I have called you to work with children". I knew that. A flashback across the course of my life would reveal many a moment where my love of children and my call to them was confirmed and ignited. Even from a tiny little girl.

I allowed myself to consider what that calling might look like in the here and now. Orphans? Adoption? ... and then God gave me a verse:

"I run in the path of your commands, for you shall enlarge my heart". Psalm 119:32.

I meditated upon that: That when we run in obedience to God, he enlarges the capacity of our hearts, beyond what is natural to ourselves. We are literally made for more, when we follow Him.

The next verse that jumped out at me was Psalm 127:3 "Children are a gift from the Lord, they are a reward from Him"... Psalm 128:3 "Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees as they sit around your table".

My heart beat inside me as I considered that He was going to increase us, and gift to us another child. I knelt, yielded my desires to Him and prayed that if that were His will, He would also reveal it to Sam. I was honest as I shared my heart with Sam. Id be lying if I didn't say how the weight and responsibility sat upon Him. Also the small yet practical 'complications'.. the car seating arrangement, the fact that there are 6 chairs around the table we bought as newlyweds 'for life' and our new carpet, with no baby spill stains. Small things? You could say yes on one hand. But for us, and especially for Sam, they were real.

Yet despite them, he also saw the value of another little life in our precious family and God confirmed it to us in some precious little ways.
As we prayed God gave me a dream, two in fact. I dreamt we had a girl and I also dreamt we had a boy. I kept the dreams a secret in my heart and tried to make sense of them. They were two very different dreams. My little girl had an ethereal presence about her that I struggled to identify. Whereas the dream of my boy felt grounded.

Shortly after, we discovered we were pregnant. I still remember taking the test, seeing the pregnancy test negative and saying to Sam "hmm, something is not right with my body".. and then slowly seeing it turn positive. The next day I started bleeding and that evening went and had a bath. As I lay in the bath, the Lord whispered to me "She is with me". I knew she was in the Lords hands. Our dear and ethereal Poppy Grace Cahill.
Her little face edged upon my mind forever, and suddenly the dream made sense. Oh how I ache to trace my fingers over her delicate little face and kiss all the softness of her profile. To admire her in all her elegance and dignity. And although my grief was so very real, yet my heart burned deeper with a burning desire to love children as God loves them.. and heaven became more real.

Two weeks later, we conceived again. This time I waited till week 8 to test and then, only to be sure I wasn't going to see the midwife in vain. I knew in my heart, this was our boy!

When we went to the 20 week scan and heard that confirmed, I spent the next couple of days crying. Perhaps not for reasons that people might think. I was so excited; our beautiful little boy was up there on the screen looking just perfect. But seeing his feet reminded me of another little pair of feet I didnt get to see. Knowing he was a boy, confirmed the reality of the dreams Id had and perhaps the grief set in again.. how does the heart do that? Grieve and rejoice all at once?

As I prayed through the pain, I felt God speak to me of the promises He had for the little man that I was carrying. He truly gave me joy in my sorrow and anticipation in the place of tears, and I knew that this wee man was a very great reward and treasure that we were being entrusted with. I shared this with Sam and we began to wonder what name we should call him.

Starting with a name book would make sense. But this time we knew we needed to pray and ask God for this name. We quietly waited for Him to answer.

The answer came one night, October 16th 2014. Sam and I lay in bed and he had been looking through a book about the lineage of the Cahill Clan, called "Cahill blood" - about his forebears. One name in particular stood out to him; Joseph. Sam's great great grandfather. An amazing man who served as a Policeman and also Mayor of Poplar, London. We decided to look the name up.

Joseph: The name Joseph is a Hebrew baby name. In Hebrew the meaning of the name Joseph is: May Jehovah add/give increase/ enlarge.

Immediately I remembered the verse God had given me "You shall enlarge my heart"... our hearts burned with joy and we decided to lock this name away as a secret till he was born.

Joseph really is a gift of God to us. We thought our family was done at 4.. and Jehovah has given us an increase. His love enlarges both our capacity and our dreams. He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we could ever ask or think.

In the birthing centre, my Nana visited me. She had a special story for me. My great great grandfather was also called Joseph. He also lived in London and was a medic in the army . Is it any coincidence that our son shares his name with his great great great grandfathers on both sides?!!

What a LEGACY for our little man, and what a TREASURE for us.

Today I was lying on the couch with wee Joseph curled up on my chest asleep. I closed my eyes and breathed in the peace. As I lay there listening to the crickets sing, my boys upstairs quietly playing with lego, my daughter humming outside, my heart was hit with a wave of ache again. That quiet longing to hold time still and enjoy feeling this content, this fulfilled, this rich.. forever. I breathed in the smell of Joseph one more time, trying to memorize it. Milky, a little like a lamb, sweet and fresh, and lived in. And the thought hit me "This cant be our last!". Oh I know all the reasons it should be. My body for one, can only do so much. Yet even as the thoughts washed over me, I was reminded of Gods truth.
We don't need to lament for our past, while still in the present, because Gods still writing the future. When the pen is in His hands, He still keeps enlarging the capacity of our lives and hearts for FAR more than we could imagine.
Yes, our bodies wear out. But our hearts dont have to.
It reminded me of the call God gave to us, back a year ago, when we said 'yes' to one more: The call was this.. simply to love children, as He loves them.

Though this is likely our last baby, I know God will continue to enlarge our hearts and home to children.. as long as we walk in obedience to Him.
To that our hearts say "Yes Lord".